The allure of the exotic Asian Leopard inspired the breeding initiative of Jean Sudgen (Mill) of the United States of America, in 1963. After many years of dedicated breeding efforts, the breed known today as Bengal was finally recognized by the International Cat Association (TICA) in 1984. The domestic Bengal is four generations or more away from its foundation, the Asian Leopard Cat.
The Bengal cat is medium to shorthaired and can weigh anywhere between 10 and 20 pounds. It has a long, muscular body conformation resembling its wild descent. Females are typically lighter in weight (10-12 pounds), while males weigh in at anywhere from 14 to 20 pounds. The breed retains the feral look from its wild ancestry, while also exhibiting the sweet, gentle, fun-loving disposition of its domestic heritage.
Bengals are very happy, playful, energetic, talkative and intelligent. They possess personality attributes much like those found in dogs. They are so outgoing, they will follow you from room to room and always greet you with a loving welcome. Again like dogs, Bengal cats fetch balls, walk on a harness and actually love and enjoy water! They enjoy fish bowls (and fishing!) and will delight children and adults alike with their playful antics with water. Bengals interact well with children and other animals. They are very inquisitive and seemingly fearless. These stunningly beautiful cats will grace any home and bring true joy to their co-inhabitants.
Bengal pelts are either spotted (brown, snow, silver) or marbled patterns. Ideally, the pattern should run horizontally, rather than vertically. The most common pattern is spotted; because the very intent of the Bengal breeding program is to replicate, as much as possible, the appearance of the Asian Leopard. The marble pattern is derived from the blending of the Asian Leopard spots and the domestic tabby pattern. Background colors may be golden, rust, brown, orange, sand, buff, or even ivory. Bengal spots also vary in color, from rust or cocoa and chocolate brown to charcoal or black. "Rosettes" the dark outlining of coat markings (both spotted and marble) around a third rich color found in many Asian Leopard Cats and other wild cat species, is a desirable but not required, pattern in the Bengal cat.